Mitigation Of Pests In Perennial Grass Bioenergy Landscapes

Overview

Deployment of perennial grass-based bioenergy systems offers transformational opportunities for American agriculture to achieve crop production while enhancing wildlife habitat and protection of soil resources, as envisioned in the USDA NIFA mission. However, perennial grass cropping systems may also accumulate insects and pathogens that damage other crops. This risk may be exacerbated by trade-offs in selection of grasses for biofuel-valued traits (fast growth, low lignin) at the cost of natural defenses. Alternatively, new biofuel crops have potential to reduce pest losses at landscape scales if cultivars are well-screened and pest-suppressive cropping strategies are deployed. To develop strategies to mitigate crop risks and enhance benefits, we will examine three groups of highly mobile, grass-associated pests: cereal aphids, aphid-vectored viruses, and introduced beetles with root-feeding white grub larvae. These pests represent key above- and belowground threats with strong potential to accumulate in perennial grasses and spillover to other crops. We will conduct an integrated set of laboratory and field experiments to (1) Evaluate pest response to bioenergy-selected traits in multiple perennial biofuel switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) cultivars; (2) Quantify relative importance of crop traits, species composition, landscape factors, and management in determining pest accumulation and exchange; and (3) Develop landscape-specific management strategies to limit pest exchange among bioenergy grasses and other crops. We will evaluate pest interactions with individual plants; compare pest activity, accumulation, and fluxes in agronomic fields of biofuel grasses; and assess the relative importance of cultivar type and management strategies in determining pest interactions across a landscape gradient of pest pressure.

Protocols

Chlorophyll content (SPAD) III

REQUIREMENTS: Firmware v0.41 or higher. Measures transmission at 940nm and 650nm in order to determine the 'greenness' of a leaf, an indicator of chlorophyll content and nitrogen content. The 940 is used to account for leaf thickness. Improvements over Chlorophyll content (SPAD): - performs 3 different spads at 3 intensities for thin and thick leaves - auto-chooses appropriate intensity - is calibrated to a Minolta SPAD device from factory.

Improvements over previous version -

  • Compatible with firmware v0.41 or higher.

Questions

  1. Cultivar (Multiple Choice)
  2. Plot Code (Multiple Choice)
  3. Ecotype (Multiple Choice)

Discussions

Team

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Project Lead (112)
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Collaborator (226)
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Collaborator (92)
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Collaborator (98)